highlights included jen kearney, carl johnson and pete maclean (with corey b on trombone) covering donny hathaway's "this christmas", but the biggest ovation of the night was hands-down for speakermute's ripping cover of the waitresses' "christmas wrapping", and hats off to the horn section for being japanese subway packed tight on each and every break. awesome!
there were too many other fantastic covers (and originals!) to mention but special props have to go out to bob nash for not only co-sponsoring the event through wonka sound, (how many other cities have recording studios like wonka right in town?), but playing skins on what seemed to be every other set. comparing the event to live aid, you'd have to say phil collins would be the bob nash of world music, if only he were as cool in a red and white striped santa hat.
there was even a global satellite feed (ok, maybe just a live web stream, but that's even better) and friends of mine from as far away as oregon and arizona tuned in and had raves for the whole thing, and expressed resolution to get there in person next year.
which, of course, begs the question of whether or not the worthen can hold the roof on this thing any longer. (did i mention japanese subway packed?) there is no question that the worthen house is the right place for this thing to have been born and nurtured. but we're talking people three deep on the stairway railings, not to mention outside the windows looking in, and it would seem that some sort of compromise that keeps the music and the people in the same place but still lets more in can be reached.
this isn't an event that wants a stage, or anything more formal than a christmas-wrapped box in which to funnel the flood of food bank donations. this is an event that is pure lowell, and pure in both its heart and its delivery. if you missed it, you missed it, but you can bet on there being an even bigger and better one in 2010, and you should mark your calendar RIGHT NOW for the 23rd of december, so you can tell everybody you were there the night that, every year, lowell shows the world how its done.
thanks, tex, for making it all happen. thanks, everyone, for knowing a good thing when you have a chance to be part of it. and thanks to the spirit of the season that we all remember to give what we can, and share a great night with all our friends.
rock on, lowell!